FOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS in a row. Six of the last eight. Eight of the last 12.
Beyond that, in regular season games and playoffs, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High's basketball team has stormed to 70 consecutive Catholic League victories. Yes, 70!
"We know about the streak, of course, but we don't talk about it too much," said coach Carl Arrigale, who averaged 23-plus wins through his first 14 seasons. "People mention it to us way more than we mention it to them."
So, will it continue?
Well, the Saints return three starters in small forward John Davis (Towson), point guard Hanif Sutton and explosive wing guard Ja'Quan Newton, widely considered the city's best junior. Now part of the rotation, in assorted roles, are Troy Harper, Tony Toplyn (outrageous leaper), Jamal Custis and Lamarr Kimble.
"The four new guys all could have played a lot last year," said Arrigale, whose program also boasts three consecutive AAA state titles. "They were good enough. It's just that high school games aren't long enough. They're dying to get their turn and show what they have.
"I feel we have a very strong rotation. Everybody's looking good so far."
N-G's chief competition among AAA schools will likely be provided by Archbishop Carroll, which boasts point guard Yosef Yacob (Binghamton), 6-6 forward Derrick Jones, considered the city's top freshman prospect in 2011-12, and 6-9 Ernest Aflakpui, a transfer from way outside the Philly area (Ghana, in fact).
With only one member of last season's rotation still not around, Archbishop Wood should also cause consternation. The Vikings' headliner is wing sniper Pat Smith, a junior who's being stalked by schools in the Ivy and Patriot leagues.
Look for a three-horse race in AAAA.
In a game of 2-on-2, St. Joseph's Prep would storm to victory thanks to point guard Stephen Vasturia (Notre Dame) and wing guard Miles Overton (Wake Forest). As in most recent years, the Hawks will need to find inside production.
Though the destinations are not as prominent, La Salle also has a pair of D-I signees in combo guard Amar Stukes (La Salle) and wing guard Steve Smith (Fairfield). Once football is over, Ryan Winslow, a Pitt commit for his punting, will lend inside muscle.
After losing four members of its rotation to transfer, most schools would be looking forward to baseball season. Not Roman. Guard Shep Garner is a bright-lights junior, insider TreVaughn Wilkerson is coming off an impressive freshman season and some newcomers are said to be future-franchise material.
Conwell-Egan and West Catholic are the only two AA schools. Each is hoping to find itself by February.
Once again, the CL will feature one division and 10 teams will make the overall playoffs.
There are no new coaches. Ah, but only one of the holdovers can call himself a nominee for the Basketball Hall of Fame. That would be SJ Prep's William "Speedy" Morris.